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Dr. John Ochsner has died

Posted: 1:29 PM, Jul 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-06 14:29:24-04

Dr. John Ochsner, an internationally-known cardiac surgeon who dedicated his professional life to improving medicine in New Orleans, has died. 

He was 91. 

“Dr. John Ochsner was a pioneer in cardiovascular health and was dedicated to providing exceptional care to the people of New Orleans, Louisiana and the world,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "Dr. Ochsner led a surgical team to conduct one of the earliest heart transplants in the world and cultivated a culture of excellence at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, which has now completed more than 950 heart transplants. Donna and I ask that you join us in praying for the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Ochsner as we remember his remarkable career. Dr. Ochsner’s legacy will live on through the thousands of lives he impacted and saved through his nearly 50 years of service to Louisiana."

The Ochsner Health System released the following statement from Andy Wisdom, Board Chairman, Ochsner Health System & Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System: 

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. John L. Ochsner, Sr.  For more than 57 years, Dr. Ochsner has been a consistent, larger-than-life presence across our hospitals and with our staff and patients. His sphere of influence spanned across New Orleans, generations of Ochsner physicians and colleagues and the international medical community.

Dr. Ochsner dedicated nearly six decades of his life to the advancement of medical quality in New Orleans and served prominently in numerous community and civic organizations with which he was associated.

He was a world-renowned cardiac surgeon who helped set the tone for the modern-day Group Practice launched by his father, Dr. Alton Ochsner.  Dr. Ochsner was a true trailblazer in heart surgery, performing the first heart transplant in the Gulf South region in 1970 and just four years later implanted a heart pacemaker in the youngest patient ever.

He pioneered valve and coronary surgery — demonstrating innovation and forward thinking, performing more than 12,000 surgeries and authoring more than 300 medical publications.

While this is a significant and heartbreaking loss, it is also cause for celebrating a life well-lived. We are proud to continue his legacy, feel privileged to call him a friend and we will miss him dearly.

Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with his wife of more than 64 years Mary Lou Ochsner, his children, Dr. John Ochsner Jr. (an accomplished orthopedic surgeon at Ochsner) and his wife Lori, Joby Ochsner, Dr. Katherine Isabel Ochsner, and Frank Ochsner; and his sister Isabel Mann (Sis) and grandchildren, Brooke and Kaelin Ochsner during this time.

Our media partners at The Advocate posted an obituary story that looks back on Ochsner’s life and career. To read that story, click here